Pam’s Story

To see Pam today, you would never know the ordeal and the difficult hurdles she has faced. She is positive, upbeat, cheerful, and eager to talk to you about her journey to housing. But Pam describes her past self as passive, timid and with a very low self- image, especially as she compares herself to her college-graduate twin brother. After years of an alcohol addiction and “always trying to get away with things,” Pam found herself homeless at the age of 61. With no income and the additional barriers her age presented her in finding employment, she entered emergency shelter in House of Hope CDC’s Operation First Step shelter for women. There, she says, she had to stand on her own two feet. Accustomed to seeking others to do things for her, she now had to learn to navigate systems herself, advocate for her own needs, and take her life into her own hands. Her case manager Lynne, was a support and cheerleader for her, but would often hang back and give Pam the opportunity to come out of her shell and work toward her own accomplishments. As Pam took charge of her own life and her sobriety, her self-esteem and self-confidence grew. She also knew that she couldn’t keep relying on others; if she was going to get housed, she was going to have to do some real work.   While at First Step, Pam enrolled in the House of Hope Boutique Sewing 101 program. This supported employment program provides a six week training program where participants not only learn a craft-centered skill, they also learn the soft...